It seems like a long time ago, even though it has only been about three months, since I blogged about my dream journal. For those of you who never read that post, I just wrote about a habit I started doing when I woke up in the middle of the night from a dream. Instead of just falling back to sleep and forgetting my dream forever, I conditioned myself to write it down. It became a pretty cool deal. I would wake up in the morning and read what I had written in the middle of the night, never really 100% remembering writing it.
Well, I lived it up this past summer and while doing so I let several of my good habits go by the wayside. My dream journal was one of the sacrificial lambs. Throughout the whole summer I maybe had five entries. Now that I am on a more structured schedule, my dream journal is making a comeback. However, there is one unwavering habit that I have that will never cease no matter how fun my life becomes. Coincidently, it deals with a journal as well.
Ever since I was in the seventh grade, I have kept a daily journal. For every single day of my life between the age of thirteen and my present day age of twenty-four, I have a detailed summary of each day I have lived on this earth. That is around 4,380 different journal entries.
Kind of a funny story behind my inspiration for starting my journaling. One day in middle school, Pro Bowl kicker Jason Hanson visited my middle school. Yes, the same Jason Hanson who just kicked a game winning field goal yesterday to send the Detroit Lions to their first 3-0 start in ages. You see, I attended the same high school that Jason attended and the middle school that I attended was one of the feeder schools for this particular high school (Mead High School). Jason Hanson is one of the nicest professional athletes you will ever meet so it is no surprise that he gave back as much as possible to his old school district by making regular visits to the various schools in it. Well this particular day he made it a point to tell us to write in a journal each night and to always find something to be thankful for. Thinking this guy was a god, I took his advice to heart and that is how my daily journal started.
A few of my filled journals. Each one holds about a year.
Each night before I go to bed, I journal about my day. Of course, for various reasons, it is not always possible to journal right before I go to bed so if I miss a night, I catch up right away the next morning. What do I write about in my journal, you might ask? Well, I guess I can say I am pretty boring. I don’t write about my feelings, my thoughts, my secrets, or the girl I like. I don’t write about ideas, I don’t jot down poems, I don’t ramble about political ideas. Rather, I just summarize everything that I did and what occurred that day. Everything from the time I got up to what I did for my workout to what I ate for dinner is recorded. I try to write as specifically as possible so I can go back over the years and basically flip to any page that I want and relive that day.
All the time I have family members and friends ask me to look up a date in my journal and tell them what happened so they can remember how they went about organizing a certain event or who they invited to a function. My Mom will often have me go through my journal and tell her exactly what she cooked for various holidays over the years. My roommate will ask me what girl he was hanging out with at some random college event from four years ago. A friend will ask me what time we left for a certain movie at a certain time so she can be sure to leave exactly at that time for the next movie she sees because she felt it was the perfect time for arriving at the theater.
What a typical page in my journal looks like
While I love the fact that my journal helps other people out, I don’t do it for them. I do it for me. As I mentioned earlier, it is very important to me that I have a detailed, written record of every day of my life. It is important to me because if I did not have these meticulous summaries, many of my days would be gone with the wind. I can say this because I can open up to a day seven years ago and not remember the events that occurred during that day for the life of me but at least I have a written record to prove that it happened. It is a little sad to not remember living a certain day even though you have a detailed account right in front of you but I guess it is just the way the human brain works. Conversely, I can open to another day that took place seven years ago and read the account and remember it just like it was yesterday. It all depends.
The few people who see my journals are usually blown away. I write very small. Many people ask me how I can possibly read what I wrote. It is easy for me, it is my handwriting. Don’t you get it though? That is the point. I write in a way that I can easily decipher but not in a way that any snooper can glance at and read. Even though I just write about factual events without any sense of emotion, I still don’t want people picking up my journals and reading them. It is still personal. And to let you all in on a little secret, the last sentence in every journal entry that I have ever written departs from my summary theme and refers to something greater. Kind of a little curve ball for you, huh?
I would say that my journals are the most precious items I own. If there was a fire in my house, those journals would be the possessions that I would run in after. I want my kids to have a record of my life. I don’t want to be sixty-eight years old and have no recollection of the awesome times I had forty-five years ago. Someday, if I do have the ambition to write a memoir if I ever become half way successful, I want to have all the material I need. I want to continue to feed off of the therapeutic feeling I get while reflecting on my day each night. I want to know, and I want everyone else to know, that I existed. Don’t Blink.